Despite the recession, over two thirds of employers are planning to offer pay rises this year in a bid to retain talent.

That is according to research conducted by talent management firm Ochre House, which revealed that 67 per cent of firms questioned were going to be incentivising staff with monetary gains.

The survey also revealed that some 34 per cent of companies had the same HR budget as they did last year and 16 per cent admitted to having more money than in 2008.

Commenting on the results of the survey, Chris Herrmannsen, chief executive of Ochre House, said: "Although we are definitely well into a serious downturn, there appears to be a general unwillingness to shed staff if it can be avoided.

"Organisations of all sizes seem to have learned the lessons of the last major recession where unrestrained culling led to major shortages in the talent pipeline when the economy picked up again."

The results of the survey also revealed that recruitment has become harder for many HR professionals who now have to handle a significant increase in applications, which is creating more administration headaches.

Employers have been warned by the Graduate Recruitment Bureau not to rely solely on the job search areas of social networking sites when recruiting.